Welcome to the Business of Animation! As an expert in the business side of the animation industry, I know that producing a successful animated project requires a team of talented individuals who can bring the story to life. One of the critical roles in this process is that of a storyboard illustrator.
A storyboard illustrator is responsible for creating the visual narrative of an animated project. They take the script and turn it into a series of drawings that depict each scene in the story. The storyboard serves as a blueprint for the entire project, from character designs to camera angles and transitions.
Hiring the right storyboard illustrator is crucial to the success of an animated project. However, finding the right person for the job can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the animation industry or for freelancers who don't have the storyboarding skills or capacity to do the storyboarding on their client's projects.
In this blog post, we will provide you with tips and tricks on how to hire the right storyboard illustrator for your project. We will also explain why it's essential to make the right choice and the consequences of hiring the wrong person for the job. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what to look for when hiring a storyboard illustrator and where to find them.
Before we dive into the details, we’d like to invite you to attend our free masterclass on how to overcome the challenges that freelance animators face. This class will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the animation industry. So, let's get started!
A storyboard illustrator is an artist who creates visual representations of a story's scenes and sequences. They work in the pre-production phase of animation and film to plan the visual direction of the animation project.
The storyboard illustrator takes the script and breaks it down into a series of panels, each representing a specific moment in the story. They draw the characters, backgrounds, and props and add dialogue and sound effects notes to convey the mood, pacing, and atmosphere of the scene.
The storyboard serves as a roadmap for the project and helps the director and production team visualize how the story will be told. The storyboard illustrator must have a strong understanding of visual storytelling, composition, perspective, and character design. They must also be able to work quickly, as the storyboard often undergoes multiple revisions before final approval.
The storyboard illustrator works closely with the director, scriptwriter, and production team to ensure that the vision for the project is conveyed effectively. They are an essential part of the animation process and play a critical role in bringing a story to life on screen.
Choosing the right storyboard illustrator is crucial to the success of your animation project. Storyboarding is the foundation of any animation, and it's important to find an illustrator who can bring your ideas to life in a way that aligns with your vision.
However, hiring the wrong storyboard illustrator can have serious consequences for your project. Not only can it lead to delays and increased costs, but it can also result in a final product that falls short of your expectations. Let’s take a closer look at the consequences of hiring the wrong storyboard illustrator:
1. A poorly executed storyboard can lead to a project lacking a clear and cohesive vision. Hiring the wrong storyboard illustrator can result in a directionless project that lacks consistency in character designs, camera angles, and transitions.
2. The storyboard affects the entire production process If done badly, the storyboard can cause problems in animation, such as character inconsistencies and pacing issues. These problems can cause delays and increase production costs, and can ultimately result in a subpar final product.
3. The storyboard illustrator's artistic style sets the mood and atmosphere of the project. Hiring someone whose style doesn't fit the project's tone can result in a disjointed or unappealing final product that fails to connect with the audience.
4. Since the storyboard illustrator works closely with other departments, hiring someone who doesn't work well with others or is unable to take direction can lead to communication breakdowns and a final product that misses the mark.
Hiring the right storyboard illustrator is a critical decision that can make or break your animation project. Even a highly skilled storyboard illustrator can be the wrong fit for your project if they don't share your vision or communication style. It's essential to take the time to evaluate your needs and find an illustrator who is the right fit.
Building relationships with a pool of talented illustrators can be a smart strategy for ensuring that you have access to the right skills when you need them. Remember, your storyboard illustrator is your partner in bringing your vision to life, so it's important to choose wisely. With the right talent and careful planning, you can create an animation that delights your audience and meets your goals.
Now that we understand the importance of hiring the right storyboard illustrator, the next question is: how do you choose the right one? Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you find the right person for the job:
- Look at their portfolio: The first step in choosing a storyboard illustrator is to review their portfolio to ensure their style aligns with the tone of your project. A strong portfolio will give you an idea of their ability to create dynamic compositions, effective use of lighting and color, and their storytelling skills.
- Consider their experience: Experience is key when it comes to storyboarding. Look for someone who has experience working on similar projects to yours. A storyboard artist who has worked on projects in your genre can bring valuable insights to the table.
- Assess their communication skills: Storyboard artists should be able to collaborate with directors, screenwriters, and other members of the team. Consider a candidate's ability to take feedback and direction when evaluating their work.
- Consider their technical skills: A storyboard illustrator must know industry-standard software and tools, such as Adobe Photoshop and Storyboard Pro. Familiarity with animation principles and an understanding of shot composition are also important technical skills to look for.
- Check references: Always check references from previous clients or employers to confirm the candidate's professionalism, communication skills, and ability to work within deadlines and budgets.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you find the right storyboard illustrator for your project. Remember that taking the time to find the right candidate will ultimately pay off in the form of a cohesive, engaging, and visually stunning final product.
Once you've determined what to look for in a storyboard illustrator, the next step is to find them. Here are some places where you can look for the right storyboard illustrator.
Freelance directories such as Upwork, Freelancer, or PeoplePerHour can help you find talented storyboard illustrators who work on a freelance basis. These directories allow you to search for artists based on their skills, experience, and hourly rates, and view their portfolios and client feedback to assess their suitability for your project.
Ask for recommendations from colleagues, industry contacts, or other animation professionals to find a reliable storyboard illustrator. Personal referrals can provide you with valuable insights into an artist's work ethic, skills, and reliability, making it easier to make an informed hiring decision.
Joining animation associations and communities such as the Animation Guild, ASIFA, or Women in Animation can help you connect with storyboard illustrators who are passionate about their craft and committed to advancing their careers.
These associations often offer job boards, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities, making it easier to find and hire the right talent. Don’t forget our Business of Animation community can also connect you with a network of professionals that are a great fit for your animation project.
Job postings and classifieds
Posting a job listing on sites like Indeed, Craigslist, or Animation World Network can help you reach a wider audience and attract qualified storyboard illustrators who are actively seeking work. You can specify your requirements, budget, and timeline, and receive applications and portfolios from interested candidates.
Other Online platforms
Online platforms like LinkedIn, Behance, and Dribbble are excellent resources to find talented storyboard illustrators. You can search for artists based on their experience, location, and other factors, and view their portfolios and client reviews to assess their skills and suitability for your project.
By using these different approaches, you can find the right storyboard illustrator for your animation project and bring your vision to life.
Choosing the right storyboard illustrator is essential for the success of your animation project. A skilled and experienced artist can help you bring your vision to life, while a poorly chosen illustrator can lead to costly delays, revisions, and even project failures. By following the tips and advice in this post, you can find the right storyboard illustrator for your needs, and ensure that your project is a success.
Remember that finding the right illustrator takes time, effort, and patience. Don't rush the process or settle for the first candidate you come across. Take the time to review portfolios, ask for references, and conduct interviews to ensure that you find an artist who shares your vision and has the skills and experience to bring it to life.
To further yourself on your journey to becoming a master animator, it will be beneficial to master running your own animation business as well. Learn How to Start an Animation Studio or join our Animation Business Accelerator program.